Pros: Long, Good Looking, Well Balanced, Excellent Feel
Cons: That it took Callaway this long to bring back the "X" Line of clubs.
This is the driver that the TaylorMade Rocketballz wants to be when it grows up. It has just a touch of cling to the face at impact, it has a quality shaft in the head, and it offers up plenty of distance. Once I got into the groove with this club, it was easily longer than my Mizuno by roughly 5 to 7 yards consistently. Better still, I was able to hit it just as straight, or with a little baby draw without having to make any compensations whatsoever. This is a good club, and it was the only one I think that ran with Ping's new G 25 in both distance and feel.--Well, that's another review altogether, so let's just get started with this one.
This thing is a rocket launcher, but in the same sense that I find my Mizuno to be. It is long, but it is smooth and sneaky long. The shots have that tiny little bit of clingy re-assurance one gets for a split second from better clubs, that allow you to judge exactly where on the face you hit it. Then a loud, but not obnoxious sounding "POP" quickly ensues, and the ball goes flying. I am so glad to see Callaway resurrect the "X" series, as the Hogan DNA in these is obvious. I remember when the X Drivers first came out, and I was thrilled with the X-24 Irons, and then suddenly--NOTHING......It all went to The Diablo Line in a none too thinly veiled attempt to rival The TaylorMade Burner Line. These are far better clubs than "The Burner Line", and the "RocketBallz" line may have a little more raw power under the hood, but they lose this battle due to the rather lame choice of shaft. The Callaway is much more easily worked, and is straighter off the tee box thanks to some good quality control.--Shafts used to be a sore point between me and Cally, so that is saying a lot. For a stock shaft, this is a good one.
These clubs just have that feel that I personally prize so much. Take me with a grain of salt on this one, as not everyone loves that split second of cling at impact. Still that cling gives me the knowledge of where on the the club’s face the ball is at the moment of impact. This is very important to me, as I am still learning to work the ball. If I duck-hook it out on the range, it allows me to know whether I came in from over the top and straight hit it left off of the mid right to toe section of the club’s face, or if I forced a release of the wrists too early post impact and thus never gave a well struck ball a chance to fly properly. Instant correction is the name of the game, and feel is everything. It also allows me to self-correct quickly when playing an actual round. This club has that kind of feel, and still offers up distance in the bomb it type range.
Looks-- 4 ½ Stars
Compared to some of the weird looking clubs I’ve seen coming out this year (Nike Covert Driver), this club has a very staid look to it. I am fine with the more traditionally shaped head and the only slightly over the top paint job. It is what I am used to, and that gives me a sense of confidence at address. At first the sleek looking pear shaped head had me over swinging, as it just screams “Crush It!” Once I settled in, and began to swing within myself—this club simply took over.
I lined this club up against its Sibling Xtreme Driver, My Mizuno JPX 800, The new Ping G25, and Ping’s newer “Anser” drivers. I’ve got to say, I have a thing for the new solid black Pings, but if that’s not your cup of tea, this one offers a sense of hot-rodded traditionalism to it. It’s Callaway’s best looking driver in sometime.
Ease of Use—5 Stars
This really is one of those clubs where some people are going to claim “….how accurate…” it is. The reason this club is so accurate is because it lets you swing within yourself. This is a club that teaches you right away to let it do the work for you. Now all you techno-tweakers out there aren’t going to like the fact that it is so traditional, and that everything about face angle, etc. is manually operated. The good thing about that is that you learn rather quickly to back off, double-check your alignment, swing within yourself, and watch this baby go to work. –I did have to step up a flex to a stiff shaft, as the stock shaft in this one is not as beefy as the stock shaft in my Mizuno. I cannot emphasize enough that you need to get fitted. Once fitted for proper loft and flex, I was picking up yardage with a swing that was on auto-pilot.
Overall Value-5 Stars
This is the first Callaway Driver I’ve given a real 5 stars to since maybe the old Diablo Edge. That was a great driver for its time—even though I didn’t buy into the Christmas Tree Ornament Red Paint Job. This one has all the feel, all the distance, all the performance, without the dodgy paint job. You get a lot of club for the going rate of $299. It’s nice to see $299 can still buy a good club that isn’t “too light in the head”, has a hokey looking cavity or whatever to it, or has a paint job that would make Barbie or Bubba Proud, etc….I like this club a lot, and my long time readers know that I rarely give Callaway a break on anything. Ever since the pre Top Flite/Ben Hogan/Strata acquisition, any kudos a Cally club received from me were well earned. This club is indeed deserving of your attention if you are in the market for a good no-nonsense driver.